Cutting Ceramic Tile – Things You Need to Know

If it were not for the cutting, tile work would be reliably easy. But tile is both hard and brittle – about as unforgiving as a material can be – and you always need to cut tile during an installation. Luckily, specialized cutting tools and techniques make this job much easier and can keep a potentially beautiful tile job from becoming a mediocre one.

Because the tools are specialized, though, more than one type of cutter is needed to complete all but the most basic installations. I never show up on a job with fewer than three different tile cutters. Also, remember that working with tile is like breaking glass all day long: Safety glasses are a must, and gloves are a good idea.

Cutting Boards: A Basic Straight Cut Tool
Manual cutting boards are easy to use and cut most common types of ceramic tile. These simple cutters work much like a glass-cutter and use a carbide wheel mounted on a handle to score the tile's ceramic surface. After the tile is ranked, the same handle is used to snap the tile along the ranked line. I can cut a tile this way in seconds, and I have to set only the cutting board's stop to make repeated cuts.

Cutting boards are available in a variety of models that handle up to 20-in.-wide tile. I own a smaller board, which cuts tiles up to 10 in., And a larger two-rail model, which has a 20-in. capacity. Both cut tiles on a diagonal, although a wet saw makes those cuts faster and cleaner.

The boards do not require more maintenance than an occasional drop or two of oil along the rail; the cutting wheels are replaceable and usually cost less than $ 15. The cost of a cutting board can range from $ 30 for the smallest size to more than $ 300 for an imported cutter that handles 24-in.-sq. tiles.

Cutting boards have limitations: They cut only straight lines. Sometimes the break can veer from the scored line, resulting in a tile that has to be recut or finished with another tool. Cutting boards also can not cut marble, stone or thick quarry tile, and they can not take off a thin silver of tile.


Source by Steve Ng
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